JCM 800 vs 900

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by emoy18, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. emoy18

    emoy18 New Member

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    Hi I was looking to step up my MG head to a JCM and I was curious to know which is more suitable for me. I was thinking either the 800 or the 900 (probably the dual reverb). I need a pretty versatile sound, with a nice clean but more importantly a heavy crunch. I'm mostly into harder indie bands and 90s grunge, though theres a good range between. To get an idea some of my favorites would be Brand New, Thrice, Nirvana, Manchester Orchestra, Taking Back Sunday, Say Anything, Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, and Metallica. If you could give me some insight on this I'd sincerely appreciate it. Thanks.
     
  2. diesel king

    diesel king New Member

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    Remember 800 and 900 are just the series. Within each you have a handful of models.

    Do you want 1 channel or 2? I'd also consider the JCM2000 series, DSL or TSL for your needs.
     
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  3. emoy18

    emoy18 New Member

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    I'm unsure. I've never seen that big a difference in sound between a 1 and 2 channel amp, but I'm not that experienced here so if you think it would make a difference, please steer me in the right direction.
     
  4. diesel king

    diesel king New Member

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    Well if you want great cleans, you prob would want seperate clean / dirty channels so ideally you can footswitch between the two. A 1 channel amp like the JCM800 2203 / 2204 you have to rely on rolling back the guitar volume or running the amp as clean as you can and driving it with a pedal. I used to own a DSL and it was a great amp, 2 channels (with 2 further options within each channel), footswitchable to allow you to go from sparking cleans, to crunchy, to full on high gain. I don't have much experience with 900's although I know they're killer amps too, and 1 channel 800's in my opinion are the best amps ever made! Any chance you can try any of them out? At the end of the day whatever choice you make i'm sure you'll be happy, marshall is the shit!
     
  5. emoy18

    emoy18 New Member

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    I'm gonna go to guitar center to see which of them they have for me to try out. But what you're saying with the 1 channel 800 is that you cant just immediately switch from clean to overdrive with your footpedal, like you have to manually tone everything up/down?
     
  6. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

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    Hello Emoy.

    Like Diesel said, the JCM 800 and JCM 900 are the series name and you have to look into specific models within those series (model names are usually printed on the back, but sometimes on the front as well).

    If you are looking at the JCM 800, the model that is most popular and probably the easiest to find would be the 2203 model. You can find some originals on the market, but the 2203 has been reissued, so you might find one that is only a couple of years old. If you are trying out the 2203 model, you will have to make adjustments manually at the amp to change from clean to distorted tones. Having to make adjustments to the amp between songs is no problem, but having to walk over to the amp and make those adjustments manually will be a challenge, yet not impossible. You could try to back off the volume to clean up the sound, but you will not get a true clean tone. Backing off of the volume to clean up the sound also means that you will lose a little volume, which may make a difference if your bandmates do not back off of their volume as well (having good levels established is important in performance).

    If you must have a true clean tone, then you need to forget about single channel amps like the 2203 and get a channel switching amp. The JCM 900 series has what I think is a very good channel switching amp, the 4100DR model. When set up properly and played with some great speakers, the 4100DR is amazing. You can also drive it with a little overdrive pedal for a bit more gain. I've always loved this amp ever since seeing Robin Trower use one a few years ago. The clean tone on this amp is decent to good, depending on the speakers, too. If you can stand to use a little EQ pedal and perhaps a little chorus, you can get some very good clean tones from a 4100DR. And, don't forget that the 4100DR is a channel switching amp, so you can go between cleans and distortion by simply pressing on a footswitch.

    There are other great Marshalls that are channel switching as well. Look into the JCM 2000 model DSL 100 or JCM 200 model TSL 100; these may only be available on the used market, but can be great if the owner has taken care of it and can be bought relatively cheap. I also like the 6100LE, 6100LM, Silver Jubilee, and JVM series; most of these amps might be more expensive and/or harder to find than a JCM 900 4100DR, JCM 2000 DSL100, or JCM 2000 TSL100, but if you have the cash and can get a deal, I suggest you do not pass up on something like a 6100LE/LM or Silver Jubilee. The JVM is great and easy to find at music stores, but it can be expensive (I think that a new 410H goes for $2399 and the 410C for a little more). Still, a JVM has great options which you might like, so it doesn't hurt to at least demo one if you can.

    Most important is that you take the time to try as many Marshalls as you can. Right now is a good time to find a good used Marshall since Christmas is coming and some people may be selling their extra gear to pay for gifts. Now is the right time to buy! Good luck and hope this helps.
     
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  7. LKrevival

    LKrevival New Member

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    Haha since I am looking to go back to Marshall that fact has made it even more complicated for me now that I am learning more about of the selection out there past and present. Nice to have youtube and forums though where you can shop around for clips and demos to help get a better idea.

    I have read some knock the 900 series but I just heard a clip from a guy get a great blues tone from a 4102. Which now makes wonder between a 4102 combo or a JVM combo.
     
  8. kebek

    kebek Active Member

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    I own a 4102 of 1991 with EL34 tubes and it sound amazing... the video you are refering to is plain 4102 plus line 6 DL4 echo...
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srVfozUlIPc"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srVfozUlIPc[/ame]
     
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  9. Jesstaa

    Jesstaa New Member

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    If you're going to want to play quietly at times, the 4100 would be perfect. I have an 800 and a 900, and the 900 is more flexable at reasonable volumes. The 800 sounds great quiet, but there's not much you can really do with it.
     
  10. LesPaulopolis

    LesPaulopolis New Member

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    JCM 800 2203 or 2204 is THE amp for those earlier 90's bands.

    Add an OD pedal and a Big Muff and you'll be in great shape for the whole grunge thru emo pop/metal decade.

    Since you'll be upgrading from an MG I think you need to ask yourself if you want a 'better' amp that may be 'enough' or a 'pro' amp that's only downfall will be how well you utilize it. JCM900 4100 is the former, 800 2204/3 is the latter.

    Keep in mind Soundgarden, Mellon Collie, ...and Justice For All are Mesa tones.

    Used DSL is prob. the "cheapest with good tone". Dual Reverb 900 has solid state gain on Ch. 2 if that matters to you (some hate it, some like it).
     
  11. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    A DSL will give you both great cleans and massive crunch, with the bonus being it sounds great at low volume too, unlike the 800 and 900 series amps which need to be cranked to really shine. Used a DSL head is in the $500 range making it a real bargain too.


    Ken
     
  12. medicjg

    medicjg Well-Known Member

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    I can get good tone out of dr,2205,and mkiii with mv on 2 and above... A little bit loud for a bedroom but not terribly so.
     
  13. TwinACStacks

    TwinACStacks New Member

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    :) This comparison is like a Fiat to a Bentley.

    :):) TWIN
     
  14. mrrstrat

    mrrstrat Active Member

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    I like the 'true' 2 channel amps: JCM900 and the DSL. For the money they seem to be hard to beat. The JCM900 is diode clipped distortion, but side-by-side the differences with a DSL are minor (but I prefer the DSL). I really like the JCM900 4100DR - a fine amp that sounds great. I would like one, except I am pretty heavy in the amp and equipment department these days...

    I had a 1 channel amp: Laney AOR 50 and it did a 'cleaner tone' channel and them allowed you to switch in a tube of gain - kind of giving you a drive channel. The problem was it did not have a nice clean tone - it was a one trick pony.

    so for me: a DSL, a JCM900 4100, or a JVM410.
     
  15. SHREDINATOR

    SHREDINATOR New Member

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    Since you have a guitar center locally try to find a JVM 210H. Its the two channel version and if found used is a great deal! Channel 1 has clean/crunch together (Foot Switchable) in 3 modes. Does the crunch well for blues n old school stuff. Channel 2 is also 3 modes (footswitchable) from hard grungy crunch to MORE gain than you'll every really need, no boost pedal needed.

    Also the quality of the foot switch is hands down 100% better than the old DSL or TSL ones that will crap out within ten minutes of playing. They fixed the footswitch with this amp. I love the 410H but if it's your first muti-channel tube Marshall a 410 might be a bit much to start with, but you'll never need another amp for a long fricking time if you get a 410, does EVERYTHING......WELL!

    I'd start looking on Craigslist too. Where are you located, because there's a 410 in Charlotte NC right now for like 1300 bucks. Pretty good deal. Here in Asheville NC there's a TSL for like $650? If you know what to look for as far as problems go buying used is the way to go. I love my JVM and my TSL and the DSL! All are very different but the JVM is the most versital IMO.

    I always go back to the TSL though just becuase of the raw power and the tone, it's different, more vintage feeling and more response, if thats the right description.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the reverb. On a TSL, DSL etc you get real long pan reverb. JVM has a digital reverb :-(. Only draw back in my opinion to this amp. Some 800 models don't have reverb at all, like the 800KK and original 2203's etc...list goes on and on.

    I've never played a 900 series so I can't tell you anything about reverb or clips diodes or whatever so I've no info there, but I can tell you, you can't go wrong with anything that has all tubes and Marshall on the front of it!
     
  16. axe arsenal

    axe arsenal Active Member

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    Exact reason why my TSL is my main amp and my JVM is my backup.
    And I like the low/mids voicing of the TSL (darker sounding). The Crunch channel has more balls than the crunch channel on the JVM (the only channel I don't like on the JVM).
    Plus the JVM is noisier (and the footswitch is a little bit to small for six buttons).
    The TSL with an extra channel would be a great amp for me (no, I don't see the JVM as that).
     

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